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Frequently asked questions relating to King's Cross leasehold conveyancing

My wife and I may need to let out our King's Cross garden flat for a while due to taking a sabbatical. We instructed a King's Cross conveyancing firm in 2002 but they have since shut and we did not have the foresight to seek any advice as to whether the lease prohibits the subletting of the flat. How do we find out?

Your lease governs the relationship between the landlord and you the flat owner; specifically, it will set out if subletting is not allowed, or permitted but only subject to certain caveats. The accepted inference is that if the lease contains no specific ban or restriction, subletting is allowed. Most leases in King's Cross do not prevent an absolute prevention of subletting – such a provision would adversely affect the market value the flat. In most cases there is a basic requirement that the owner notifies the freeholder, possibly supplying a duplicate of the tenancy agreement.

Looking forward to sign contracts shortly on a studio apartment in King's Cross. Conveyancing lawyers assured me that they will have a report out to me next week. Are there areas in the report that I should be focusing on?

Your report on title for your leasehold conveyancing in King's Cross should include some of the following:

  • The unexpired lease term You should be advised as what happens when the lease expires, and aware of the importance of not letting the lease term falling below eighty years
  • Ground rent - how much and when you need to pay, and also know whether this will change in the future
  • Repair and maintenance of the flat
  • Changes to the flat (alterations and additions)
  • I don't know whether the lease allows me to alter or improve anything in the flat - you should know whether it applies to all alterations or just structural alteration, and whether consent is required
  • The landlord’s obligations to repair and maintain the building. It is important that you know who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of every part of the building
  • Responsibility for repairing the window frames For a comprehensive list of information to be included in your report on your leasehold property in King's Cross please enquire of your solicitor in advance of your conveyancing in King's Cross

  • I today plan to offer on a house that appears to meet my requirements, at a great figure which is making it more attractive. I have since been informed that the title is leasehold as opposed to freehold. I am assuming that there are particular concerns purchasing a house with a leasehold title in King's Cross. Conveyancing lawyers have are about to be instructed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in King's Cross ?

    Most houses in King's Cross are freehold rather than leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local solicitor who is familiar with the area can assist with the conveyancing process. It is clear that you are purchasing in King's Cross so you should seriously consider shopping around for a King's Cross conveyancing practitioner and check that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. First you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a lessee you will not be entirely free to do whatever you want with the house. The lease will likely included provisions for example obtaining the landlord’spermission to carry out alterations. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the upkeep of the communal areas where the property is part of an estate. Your conveyancer should advise you fully on all the issues.

    Last month I purchased a leasehold flat in King's Cross. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?

    Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous lessee and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to ensure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.

    If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).

    Can you offer any advice when it comes to finding a King's Cross conveyancing firm to deal with our lease extension?

    If you are instructing a solicitor for your lease extension (regardless if they are a King's Cross conveyancing practice) it is imperative that they be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of work. We suggested that you speak with two or three firms including non King's Cross conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. If the firm is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions could be useful:

    • If the firm is not ALEP accredited then what is the reason?
  • How many lease extensions has the firm conducted in King's Cross in the last year?

  • I have attempted and failed to negotiate with my landlord for a lease extension without any joy. Can the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal adjudicate on such matters? Can you recommend a King's Cross conveyancing firm to act on my behalf?

    in cases where there is a absentee freeholder or if there is disagreement about the premium for a lease extension, under the relevant legislation it is possible to make an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to arrive at the price.

    An example of a Lease Extension matter before the tribunal for a King's Cross flat is Flat 89 Trinity Court Grays Inn Road in February 2013. the Tribunal found that the premium to be paid by the tenant on the grant of a new lease, in accordance with section 56 and Schedule 13 to the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 should be £36,229. This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired lease term was 66.8 years.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in King's Cross